Sunday, May 29, 2016

Great Lakes Kite Festival


I can’t remember where I heard about the Kite Festival in Grand Haven last weekend, but it sounded like fun so we made arrangements to meet our friends Dave and Lynn at the state park beach where it was being held.  They recommended getting there early, so we went to 9am mass, and met them just before 10:30 at the beach.

We set up our chairs at the edge of the demonstration area, and took a walk through the campground.

Campers on the beach

This is Lynn’s favorite beach and favorite campground – she loves having their motorhome backed up to the beach.  It is a great beach, but we’re not too crazy about the campsites.

Popular campground, but not our favorite










The sites are a little too tight for us, and probably too small for our motorhome, anyway.  Dave and Lynn have a couple of sites that they know they can fit on, and those are the only sites they’ll reserve.

This isn’t one of them!

Yep, this is a campsite

So, we’ll just stick with camping elsewhere and visiting the beach . . . because it is a really great beach!

From the campground, we walked out on the pier.

Grand Haven lighthouse

The lighthouse had recently been repainted, and it’s a bright, vibrant red.  On the way back, we could see that more kites were gathering at the beach – it was almost time for the demonstration teams to get started.

More kites flying on the beach

We picked up a few snacks and settled into our seats for the show.

Lynn, Dave and Tom

The roped-off area of the beach in from of us was where the demonstration teams took turned performing their routines.  They came from Michigan, Chicago, Canada, and as far away as California, and they were all really talented.

This team was called Chicago Fire.


Chicago Fire










They were really good at coordinating their kites, and even brought them in for a landing, which was really impressive.

Coming in for a landing

It actually wasn’t very windy at all last weekend (not at all like it’s been this weekend!), and we thought maybe it would be difficult for the kites to perform, but it was almost like they didn’t need the wind at all – I think they would have had a much harder time controlling them if it were really windy.

I didn’t get a picture of this guy’s kite, but I took several of him because he was so into it – he was really cool to watch . . . and he had good music, too!


This guy was really amazing

As we continued to watch the demonstration teams, the sky around us continued to fill with kites – the “giant kites” area was just to our right!


It seemed like every time I looked over there, there were new kites in the sky!

Lots of giant kites in the sky now











The last two teams we watched were our favorites of the day  They both flew “stacked” kites, which were multiple kites, all the same, linked together and controlled by a group of strings by one person.  This guy started out by himself,

8 stacked bowtie kites

but was soon joined by another guy with another set of stacked kites.


They were amazing to watch – we couldn’t believe they could get them so close together – even touching – without the strings getting tangled up!

These guys were incredible!

The last team we watched were the Windjammers – they were from the Detroit/Windsor area, and very good!  Their kites were smaller, traditional diamond shape, but each person had a stack of 12 . . . and they all had long tails, too!


They performed loops and flips, and even circles in the sky!


They were SO good --


and almost as interesting to watch as the kites themselves!

Amazing maneuvers

The highlight of the show for us










They were a great final act (for us anyway, the show was continuing until 5pm, but we we getting ready to leave), and the kites took a bow as they landed in the sand!


Taking a bow

We really enjoyed the show, and we sure were glad that Lynn suggested we arrive early . . . it was getting REALLY crowded as we made our way out of the state park parking lot and made our way to Culver’s for lunch before heading back to Silver Lake.  It was a great day with wonderful friends, and we’re looking forward to many more adventures in west Michigan!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Venturing out on the dunes

Overlooking Lake Michigan

It wasn’t all work this past week . . . we had a couple of hours free on Saturday, so Bryce aired down the tires on the Jeep, took the roof off, attached the safety flag, and we headed over to the ORV Area.

Considering it isn’t even summer yet, we were pretty surprised to see how crowded the staging area was.

Staging Area

As we waited in line to get through the inspection point,

Waiting in line

we were checking out all the toys parked in the staging area.  This guy has “BRKTHBK” (Broke the Bank) on one of his license plates . . . I don’t think he was kidding!

Broke the bank - yeah, I think he did!










We finally got through the inspection point where they checked our flag, our stickers, and made sure everybody had a seat belt on . . . then we were on the access road to the ORV Area.

ORV Access Road

Here we go!










We climbed the hill,

On our way up!

and found a spot to pull in at the base of “Test Hill”.

Test Hill

Lake Michigan in the distance










On busy days like this, half the fun is watching people’s attempts at climbing the steep incline of Test Hill! 

Some people just sit and watch

We watched a guy in a Jeep make a half dozen attempts to get up the hill, backing down each time (because you can’t turn around on Test Hill), until he finally made it over the crest – barely!

Sometimes it’s the older, rougher-looking vehicles that have the easiest time!  This guy didn’t have any trouble at all.

Sometimes the older trucks have the easiest time!

It was probably operator error (there’s a LOT of that going on!), but this new truck buried his rear axle just below the crest, and had to be pulled the rest of the way!

The white truck needed some help

Test Hill, and the subsequent hills beyond it are “one-way”, but past that, closer to the lake, traffic can go in any direction.  That’s where it gets really crazy, especially on a Saturday!  We drove towards the lake, constantly watching in every direction in case somebody on a 4-wheeler or dirt bike came flying over a hill in our direction.

We made it through without incident, made our way around the standing water (which was deeper than it looked!), and parked at the beach.

Made it to the beach

Bryce checking out the Jeep


Bryce and Tom got out to make sure the underneath of the Jeep wasn’t packed with sand (it wasn’t!), and I walked down to put my toes in the water . . . it was COLD!!  According to the local news, the water temperature is still in the mid-40s.  BRRRR!!!






Lake Michigan

Pretty, though . . .

Lake Michigan Beach










While we were at the beach, we watched a guy in a lifted Cherokee driving through the water . . . he was having fun!





This guy was having fun in the puddles!


On our way out, Bryce decided to attempt some of the less extreme hills – Tom was nervous, but up and over we went!

Going over the hills!

It was fun, but we’ll probably stick to weekdays from now on . . . and out we go!

Exiting the ORV area

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Almost ready for summer


Tom and Bryce have continued to keep busy getting the RV Resort ready for the big weekend coming up.  They painted the pool, kiddie pool and hot tub, stained picnic tables, and did some trimming.

When they finished the parks’ projects, they washed the RV and the Jeep, and Bryce finished up his schoolwork.  Yes, he is officially done with High School, and as soon as I get his grade report for his Anatomy class, he will “graduate”!

We also wrapped up a couple more projects in the RV.  We had ordered a cellular booster to see if it would help with our Verizon signal, and it does seem to help quite a bit – although you have to basically be sitting right next to the interior antenna. 


I actually found that I get the best signal when I set the phone next to the antenna and use the headphones for talking.

For the roof antenna, following advice I found on Technomadia’s site, we bought a cookie sheet, Tom cut the raised edges off it (and sliced open a finger in the process), painted it, and attached it to the roof.

Cellular Booster Antenna

Our other completed project was making new tire covers and a windshield cover out of our old tire covers and sun shade.  We had to do a little piecing together to make the tire covers fit the taller tires on the motorhome, but they turned out pretty good.

Tire Covers

We had always had trouble with losing the little white caps that hold the fabric to the suction cups, and we needed some more suction cups, too, so we checked online and managed to find a source for them.  For $30, we got 50 suction cups and 100 little white caps – not too bad!

Tire Cover

Tire Cover










We were really happy with the windshield cover that we made from the sun shade fabric.

Windshield Cover

It’s really going to cut down on the sun coming through the windshield, and should keep the front of the RV much cooler this summer.  From the inside, you almost can’t even tell it’s there!

View through the new windshield cover

We were happy to get those projects checked off our To-Do List!

This weekend was the “Welcome Back” event for the seasonal campers, and we had a beautiful day for the party.  It was held at a golf course down the road, and the RV Resort provided pizza (which was really good – we’ll be going back for pizza several times this summer, I’m sure!), cake,


Sand Dune Cake










and door prizes.

Door Prizes

We had a good time, and met lots of nice people.

It was such a beautiful day, we decided to finish it off with sunset at Little Sable Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan.

Sunset_May 21st

The sun was still pretty high in the sky when we arrived.

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

It was noticeably cooler at the beach, and Bryce was chilly without a sweatshirt.     DSC_0167








Tom and I were smarter and brought sweatshirts!


We waited as the sun sank lower towards the water . . .



Sunset over Lake Michigan

and the sky turned a brilliant orange.

DSC_0199Sunset_May 21st

It was a great way to wrap up the day!